Motorcycle helmet technology has come a long way over the decades. Today, we have lighter, more durable, protective expanded polystyrene (EPS) layers and plush inner linings. Despite the shock-absorbing properties of EPS liners, they typically don't handle oblique collisions well.
Those impacts are the most common and can transfer torsion directly to the rider's head and neck. Technology like the Multi-directional Impact Protection System (MIPS) can reduce rotational forces from an angled impact and the organization just updated its BPS liner for 2021.
In a MIPS helmet, the Brain Protection System (BPS) lies between the EPS and inner-lining. In the event of a crash, the BPS and inner-lining stay snug to the head as the EPS and outer shell rotate accordingly. This allows the BPS to function as a protective membrane, shielding the rider from concussions and even brain damage. The latest MIPS BPS features rubber anchors that mount directly to the EPS. The system ensures that the BPS returns to its original location following a collision.
Unlike Arai’s “glancing off” approach that restrict the manufacturer to a constant radius outer shell, MIPS accommodates a variety of shells and liners. For that reason, MIPS doesn’t manufacture helmets. Instead, it grants brands the ability to integrate its BPS into a wide range of helmets.
Despite the premium protection, MIPS helmets are generally affordable, with examples like the Bell Qualifier DLX MIPS retailing for $279 and Icon’s Airflight MIPS Stealth coming in at $320. Bell, Icon, and Moose Racing currently offer MIPS-equipped lids and the 2021 BPS liner should be featured on future models. Yes, motorcycle helmet technology has come a long way, but MIPS’s new BPS proves that things can always get better.